Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD
In July 2004, Sister Linda Bevilacqua assumed the presidency of her Alma Mater as Barry’s sixth and first alumna president.
After graduating magna cum laude from Barry in 1962, she entered the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan. Sister Linda earned a master’s degree from Siena Heights College (now University), Adrian, Michigan and a PhD from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan in 1980.
Sister Linda returned to Barry in 1969 as the chief student life officer (1969-1978), and again from 1981to 1986 as the founding dean of the School of Professional and Career Education (PACE) and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Sister Linda left Barry in 1986 following her election to the leadership team of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. During a six-year term as Congregation Administrator, she oversaw administrative, financial, legal, corporate, and real estate matters. Sister Linda also facilitated the integration of the Adrian Dominicans' hospitals in California and Nevada into a multi-state, multi-institution, co-sponsored health system, served as a member of the System’s Board of Directors for seven years, and chairperson of the System Board for four years.
From 1993-2002, Sister Linda was the president of Gwynedd-Mercy College (now University) in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania.
Since 2004, Sister Linda has been guiding Barry’s transformation into an urban, comprehensive, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic university with around 9,000 students annually who are enrolled in one of two colleges or six schools. Early in her tenure, the Barry Law School located on a campus in Orlando received full accreditation from the American Bar Association and enrolls a little over 700 students.
The University has developed three strategic plans, a Compensation Plan, a Master Site Plan, and a Quality Enhancement Plan that shapes undergraduate curriculum. Barry also created the Paul and Margaret Brand Research Center, the Center for Community Service Initiatives, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice, five outreach clinics at the Law School, and the Center for Academic Student Achievement.
Through a variety of delivery formats (onsite, blended, online) and corporate and civic partnerships, Barry offers over one hundred bachelors, masters, doctoral and professional degrees throughout the state of Florida and the Bahamas.
Seventeen academic programs have earned accreditation by national associations, including a ten year re-accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in December 2014. Barry has earned the prestigious “Community Engagement Classification” from the Carnegie Foundation and is recognized as a Catholic College of Distinction and a Florida College of Distinction.
During her tenure the University has constructed two large residence halls, an administrative office building for the School of Podiatric Medicine, a state-of-the-art Legal Advocacy Center, four other Law School facilities, the signature Sylvester Tower on I-95, along with undertaking dozens of renovation projects.
Since 2004 when Sister Linda became president, Barry’s intercollegiate athletic program has gained national prominence for the number of earned NCAA Division II national championships (19) and the high academic success rate of the student athletes.
Sister Linda’s current civic, educational and professional memberships include: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors; Orange Bowl Committee; Beacon Council’s Coordinating Council and Academic Leaders’ Council; International Women's Forum, Florida Chapter; United Way of Miami Dade Advisory Council; Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida - Executive Committee; Life Sciences South Florida (LSSF) Executive Committee; NCAA Sunshine State Conference President’s Council; Florida Association of Colleges and Universities-2013-2014 president; Florida Campus Compact Executive Committee.
Additionally, Sister Linda has served and continues to serve on several committees, councils and chapters, including: Association of Colleges & Universities (Board of Directors 2006-13; Board Vice Chairperson; Chairperson – Membership Committee; and Chairperson – Presidential Search Committee Executive Committee); Beacon Council (One Community One Goal Steering Committee and Academic Leaders Council); Sunshine State Conference Presidents’ Council; Florida Association of Colleges and Universities (Board of Directors 2010-15; President 2013-14; and Vice president 2012-13); Florida Campus Compact Executive Committee; Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (Board of Governors and member); Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida (Presidents’ Council 2004-present and Executive Committee 2014-16); Life Sciences South Florida (Executive Committee); Orange Bowl Committee; International Women’s Forum – Florida Chapter; Independent Sector (National Conference Host Committee 2015); Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (National Conference Host Committee 2015); and United Way of Miami Dade (Advisory Council).
Since 2004, Sister Linda has received the following awards: initial inductee into “Hall of Fame” of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York; first recipient of the Barry University “Distinguished Adrian Dominican Sister Alumna Award”; the “Outstanding Community Service Award” from the South Florida Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration; the “Chairman’s Award” from the Beacon Council; “Top Women-Led Not-for-Profit Businesses” from The Commonwealth Institute of South Florida; the “Founder’s Award” from Florida Campus Compact; the “Service Award” from Samaritan Counseling Centers; and the Greater Miami Shores Chamber of Commerce “2016 Citizen of the Year.”
Sister Linda was awarded the Doctor of Laws degree ("honoris causa") from Barry University in 1992. In addition to her Barry roots, Sister Linda has deep ties to the South Florida community since her family has lived in Miami-Dade County since 1958.